Editorial on Washington Times article:
IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE, ETC.
Here we now have two of the most eminent legal minds in the country
- one of them a Supreme Court Justice - falling back on that old and utterly
unacceptable excuse for wrong doing: ignorance of the law.
It seems that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as Insight magazine reported
recently, failed to recuse herself from 21 - count em' 21 - cases involving
companies her husband had invested in. Martin D. Ginsburg, blames it
all on his own "mistake."
"Until reading the Insight article I had not appreciated that stocks
held in an IRA account managed by a third party professional raised
the concern that Insight has highlighted," he said in a written
statement. He insists he alone is responsible, that his wife has
"never seen the fund"; but he offered no explanation for how she
could have been ignorant of the stock holdings after signing two
financial dislosure forms that detailed the holdings.
Now, no one is suggesting that Justice Ginsburg deliberately chose
not to recuse so that she could rule on cases in a way that would
benefit her husband's IRA. Indeed, in the one case not decided by
secret vote, she voted against the company. But, the law dictates
that federal judges recuse themselves if their "impartiality might
reasonably be questioned" or when the judge, a spouse of a minor
child living at home "has a financial interest in the subject matter
That very cleary applies here, and Martin and Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
two of the country's leading attorney's, ought to have known that.
Failing that, they ought to have made it their business to find
out, and to take conflict of interest on the Supreme Court as seriously
as it deserves to be taken.